John Lannan didn't just take the Washington Nationals out of Monday night's game, the Phillies' fifth starter also gave his outfielders a break for most of the evening.
"I was about to fall asleep out there," Domonic Brown quipped.
Lannan (2-3), who led the Phillies to a 3-2 win, was razor sharp. Lannan tossed eight shutout innings before a shaky Jonathan Papelbon closed out the game for his 19th save of the season.
The lanky lefty gave up just four hits and struck out four against his former team. Lannan denied having any extra motivation against the Nationals.
"There just another team, another really good team we have to beat," Lannan said.
Charlie Manuel believes Lannan was pumped up facing the squad that sent him to the minors last season, while the Nationals won the most games in the majors.
"I'm sure he does [feel excited]," Manuel said. "I think that's natural. I would be jumping up and down."
Lannan was superb. Only one baserunner reached second base. He pounded the plate (109 pitches, 71 strikes) and 10 of his 24 outs were groundball outs.
"That's what I need to do," Lannan said. "I have to keep the ball on the ground. I"m not a strikeout guy."
Lannan did his job and so did the smoldering Ben Revere, who is hitting .300. Revere -- 3-for-5 with two runs scored -- has hit safely in 10 of his last 11 games. He is hitting .447 over that span.
"I'm just trying to play my game," Revere said. "I'm trying to get on base, maybe steal a base and score some runs. Lannan pitched a heck of a game tonight."
But it was a team effort. The Phillies banged out 10 hits and never trailed as they moved to within 2.5 games behind second-place Washington.
"We're going to have to get past them," Lannan said. "They're a very good team. But we're a very good team with a lot of baseball left this season."